Now that I have been in one place long enough to actually breathe again, and am still managing to ignore the shambling mounds all over the house, I need to get it together here. So, here’s a link to Jim’s obituary, which I snagged out of the Sault Evening Snooze. (And the dog’s name is “Alfie”, as in “Alfred”, not “Elfie”, sheesh! Pine martin slinkin’ down the back road? Bring it on! I’ll git it! Kee-reist. Elfie? Not!)
I have also placed a link to it in a permanent place on the left sidebar of this page which I will keep there as long as it seems right to do so, even after I get around to fixing up this ugly frog-infested site.
Jim had battled the hepatitis C virus for many many years, actually all of his life, although it wasn’t detected until 1991 (not sure if the year is accurate) and I don’t believe it even acquired a name until after he was diagnosed with it. It’s too long and complicated a story to tell here, it is not my story to tell and I know I would mangle the facts, so I won’t try. But I do know that no one who ever met him, even in the last weeks of his life, would have guessed that he had any health issues at all. He had an intense career as an automotive engineer, worked long hours right up to the end and had all kinds of other interests, as noted in the obit.
He was very ill the last few days of his life but he managed to completely bamboozle his family into thinking it was just “the flu” and I was blissfully oblivious about it all until the day before he died. That was a Sunday and we had arrived in A2 after a nice hot POC ride down from Houghton Lake and I was pretty darn cranky about the A/C (or lack thereof) in that car. I read an email from Karen that Jim was sick. I wrote some lame reply and started doing something in the kitchen and then I did a big double-take! “Rough” breathing??? Wha? I called up there and I guess The Commander also called and *ordered* him to go to the ER and the next I heard, Karen and Janet were following an ambulance with Val staying behind with the dogs (or working? kee-reist I can’t remember!). It was a hot and restless night around here and I spent the next morning putzing around Ann Arbor doing just about the most lame and random errands possibly imaginable. But I did somehow have the presence of mind to put gas in my car. Therefore, when Karen called me at 11 or so that morning, I just got in and left. But since Froggy put up such a big fuss about going with me, I got a half-mile down the road and realized I had him but not my purse, so I had to turn around and go back to get it!
When Karen had visited Jim early that morning, he was initially able to respond to stories about the dogs’ antics but by the time she left he had slipped into unconsciousness. By the time I arrived at Grand Blanc, the hospital had called to say he had taken a turn for the worse. I won’t even try to document the afternoon. Karen is *much* more knowledgeable about all of that. It was a blur to me. I felt my job was to function as a bumbly sort of “sweep,” just being there to do whatever was needed. I do not know whether he was aware of our presence at that point or not. They were still working on him pretty hard and there was quite a bit of waiting and we all made phone calls, etc. And then we were told he was going and we scrambled to get everyone back into his room and he slipped away. We were there for a while afterward and then we walked out to the parking lot, Karen got in her car, I got in mine, I blew a master salute and then, we just drove off into the steamy hot late afternoon haze. “What happened this afternoon?” “What did we just do?” I couldn’t make sense of it. And that is all for now. There has been a lot going on since then but that’s the end of a chapter.